Japanese Style Garden

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At a glance, this garden demonstrates several distinct features including a pond, pergola, circular walkway pattern and several wooden accent pieces. Hidden within these elements is a far more elaborate design process, performed by Nature’a Palette project supervisor Matthew Morris in 2014. Matthew has studied at the Osaka Institute in Japan and was mentored in the Art of Japanese Garden Design. His ability to express meaning in the landscape based on traditional Japanese design principles, is meticulously expressed throughout the design. Everything from the placement of accent rocks, the orientation of the bridge and water feature to the plant material used were adapted to fit our Canadian climate (and unfortunately harsh winters). He combined elements that stimulate the senses to encourage meditation and relaxation as one walks through the space.   


Japanese Gardens began during the *Heian period (794-1185) and have continually changed over the centuries. The art of japanese design expresses a higher appreciation of nature and envelopes the user in their surroundings both physically and spiritually. Fortunately, the site’s intimate setting supported a modified zen garden. The different mediums used create multiple experiences. These elements include: in-set concrete slabs with ground covers growing in-between, an interlocking stone walkway, a wooden bridge and specially glued pebble stones that all create unique effects.


North view of pond and bridge

Amazingly, the original backyard had a rectangular in-ground swimming pool that now features the water fall and pond. Matthew and his team were able to adapt the pool’s basin and water system to suit the pond. This site demonstrates how design can meld culture, history and functionality in any space when completed properly. An ability to read into the deeper meaning of the landscape proves a higher appreciation for nature and our surroundings. Thank you to Matthew for his insightful design and passion for cultural form.


*Heian period is the period in Japanese history when Buddhism, Taoism and other Chinese influences were at a high. The Heian period is also known as a period with considerable appreciation for art, poetry, literature and design.


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